Who needs roses when you have African Violets, Cyclamen, Orchids, and nothing spells “LOVE” like a Flamingo Lily, right?

Our culture traditionally places roses on a pedestal as the preferred flower for most romantic occasions. Without argument, a bouquet of roses is truly a significant statement, but the limitation is that they usually wither in a week or ten days. One might say they served their purpose for the expected time. But what if the relationship needs a bit more staying power, the need to endure a rocky road ahead? That vase of withered flowers, brown crinkled leaves, and petals falling like flies does nothing to shore-up your latest argument that needs smoothing over. 

With St Valentine’s Day coming in fast, there are alternatives to consider that boost your romantic message well beyond the short life of a bouquet of cut flowers.

Check out a few suggestions of plants that enhance romance:


Cyclamen, plants romance
Photo: Garden Lovers Club

One of the best sources of fresh, winter color found in garden centers from Thanksgiving to St Valentine’s Day is the Cyclamen. Flowers are bright red, pink, lavender and white. Many have leaves that are detailed with silver streaks and highlights. The plant prefers cool temperatures, so expect it to slowly shut down and temporarily go dormant when the weather gets hot.

African Violet

African violet, plants romance
African Violet

Though requiring a little more know-how, considering the tiny space this small plant requires, the floriferous impact of the African violet is big. Adding to the bold pink, purple, white and blue blooms – the heart-shaped foliage of this plant gift clinches the amorous message. Water, soil, and light needs are a bit more specific, but there is plenty of information online and for those who are willing to learn. Once you become familiar with their requirements, African violets reward you with a windowsill full of beautiful, flowering plants. Considering this plant intimidates some gardeners, you’ll soon be regarded as an expert.

Flamingo Lily

Flamingo Lily or Anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum), plants, romance
Flamingo Lily or Anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum)
Photo: Tim Graham / Getty Images

This plant is a favorite of mine, and just like love, it needs to be shared more ♥️💕💚. A mound of green waxy foliage is not only heart-shaped for the occasion, but their glossy shine gives the impression that you polished every leaf, out of love, of course. This plant is a member of the Arum family like the beautiful but stinky Corpse Flower detailed in our last posting. The Anthurium does not smell like rotting flesh, or has any fragrance, but shares similar plant (body) parts. What might appear as a flower to some, the painter’s palette shaped spathe is bright red. The flower is a creamy yellow spadix rising from the center. This is somewhat like the Corpse Flower in miniature form. You have to see it to appreciate it. Flowers last a long time and as a bonus can occur periodically throughout the year.


orchids, plants romance , costa farms
Photo: Costa Farms

Depending on the variety and care given, orchid plants can have lasting blooms from one to three months! That is staying power and bound to keep your romance rolling past the bumps in the road. As an added incentive with the Orchid, the name works well for the passionate message signed in the card. Consider a catchy comment like, “My love for you could never be thwarted, so I present to you this beautiful orchid.” Perhaps too deep, but oddly enough, the orchid and its rhyme can accommodate the sad but potential breakup as well. “I expressed my love with the incomparable orchid, but your feelings were shallow and despicably morbid (or depending on the mood, others to consider: distorted, horrid and sordid. All equally nasty and made possible courtesy of the capable orchid).

How about dudes? Any gift plants appropriate for guys?

cactus, cacti, green, plants romance
Photo: Costa Farms

Of those men who have developed an appreciation for plants (aside from those they eat), it has been found that some level of appreciative affection occurs with: cactus, succulents, bonsai trees, and small bamboo plants. To step the gift up and outside, consider the Redbud tree (Cercis canadensis), a small ornamental tree with pink blooms (heart-shaped leaves of course) and an asset to any landscape. Finally, as a wild shot, if your man is a biker dude, or rides motorcycles, you might consider getting him a Cyclamen.

-Rob McCartney, Horticulturist

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